State of Education: Challenges and Opportunities for Organizations


Human Intelligent (HI) Workplace
Helping Leaders Help Themselves

March 25, 2015

No one said that earning a living in the 21st century is going to require less education. It’s going to require more.”

Ed Gordon – Future Jobs


While technology is taking more of a key role on the global workforce stage, the U.S. has an interesting challenge and opportunity in this area. This is particularly so because of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is an area where the U.S. is` falling behind globally (maybe more like the world is being leveled or balanced and others are catching up). This in a time when technology is increasing in importance and the U.S. ranks 24 out of 40 countries in applying math concepts to real world problems; and when 15% of undergraduates are in science and engineering compared to 38% in South Korea, 50% in China, and 67% in Singapore. The U.S presently ranks 10 in the globe on their population getting a college education, with South Korea, Canada, and Russia in the top ranks.

In a sense the U.S. is ceding its scientific and technical leadership. This in a time when there is an increase in minorities yet only close to 60% complete high school, 12% bachelors, and 10% in graduate degrees and this when a college education is becoming more what a high school education use to be. Recently this has begun to change some due to the tough economic times. Now more minorities and in particular Hispanics are entering college due to limited employment opportunities.

Today getting a college education has become equivalent to getting into a lifetime debt due to the increasing cost of a higher education. With this comes the state politicians (depending on their political sway and perspective) of cutting education (both at the first and secondary levels) that makes it increasingly difficult to get a higher education, when what this country needs in order to compete on the global stage is a more cost effective education for all.

What we have to accept is that these individual choices end up adding up and defining a society as to how organizations can evolve, adapt, and grow. And in today’s organizations and into the future, less of an education is not going to be a better option for individuals and in turn for organizations that will need a more educated workforce.

Today half of the employers are having a difficult time finding qualified college graduates to hire. In addition over a third of the 2011 college grads did not demonstrate a large increase in cognitive gains over the years. This obviously troubles future employers.

How countries and organizations proactively plan for these challenges and opportunities will make the difference in competing globally. With the ever-changing technologies, needed advancing thinking and creative workforce, countries and organizations that invest now will reap its benefits in the long run. This will be a challenge in our ever-increasing “immediate satisfaction” and short-term focused society.

I believe organizations will need to increasingly and proactively engage in partnering with our educational system and school, especially when our politicians will not address it. Because in the end, while this is an important imperative of all countries and societies, it is that much important to the organizations for their success and existence.

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